Your 29th Week

You may feel a little bored and back-achy at this stage of pregnancy, but there are plenty of positive ways to take your mind off things. For example, you could start to make enquiries about breast-feeding classes, plan your maternity leave, and draw up shopping lists of baby essentials, such as diapers, a changing mat, onesies, bibs, and baby wipes, and perhaps buy a couple of items each week.


Use this third trimester to get organized before your baby is born

You are 28 Weeks and 1 Day 83 days to go…

It’s never too early to start thinking about the financial implications of maternity leave, and whether to return to work.

Your baby today

This week is something of a landmark in your baby’s development. Although a baby born at this stage would still need help with breathing, the lungs have matured to an extent that survival chances outside the uterus are significantly better than earlier in the pregnancy.

When you’re on maternity leave, it may be the first occasion that you haven’t worked for a long time. This change can be quite daunting, even though you know you’ll soon be busy taking care of a baby. Depending on your employer, you’ll be entitled to varying amounts of pay during your maternity leave. Every company has a different maternity leave policy. You may get paid or unpaid leave for a specific number of weeks or you may be able to use sick days or vacation days. Ask a human resources representative about your options. Depending on your partner’s employer, he may be eligible for the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which means he could get 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Some companies are more generous than others, offering a percentage of your salary during your maternity leave. Going on maternity leave may cause a significant drop in your income. You should talk to your partner about how much money will be coming in and going out and how you will manage a change in your finances.

Even though it’s a long way in the future, you might also start thinking about plans for working after the baby is born. You may think that you have no real option financially and have to return full time, but explore the possibilities of working more flexibly, or working part time, or from home one or two days a week. You may also want to start thinking about your child-care options (see You are 32 Weeks and 6 Days).

Choosing diapers

Should you opt for disposables (use once, then throw away) or cloth (wash, dry, and use again)?

Disposable diapers are easy to use and ideal for when you’re out and about. But they cost more than cloth diapers, which can be washed and used over and over, even for your next baby.

  • Disposable diapers are slim fitting, super absorbent, and will keep your baby dry, even overnight. However, they cost more (by some estimates, up to $1,000 per child by the time you start potty training) and there’s the landfill factor to consider. Eco-friendly diapers, however, are now available—they use no polluting bleaching agents and fewer chemicals are used to produce them.

  • Cloth costs less—although the initial investment is greater. They also provide a softer landing for toddlers who topple over. However, all that soaking, washing, and drying could get you down (plus this has an environmental impact). You may opt to use a diaper-laundering service each week (at a cost). Cloth diapers need changing more often than disposables. They are slightly more difficult to put on and take off, but modern cloth diapers are fastened with Velcro, not pins.

  • Using a combination of reusable and disposable diapers can work well: buy the occasional package of disposables for when you’re out and about or for if you leave your baby with a babysitter, but opt for cloth the rest of the time.

You are 28 Weeks and 2 Days 82 days to go…

The coiled umbilical cord connects your baby to the placenta, his life-support system until birth.

Your baby today

This image shows a typical chin-on-the-chest position with an arm held up to the side of the face. A knee is just visible to the left of the image with a loop of umbilical cord above it. Your baby now is likely to be in a head down position but there’s still time to change.

Most umbilical cords finally grow to be about the same length as the baby (although there are exceptions), reaching a final length of 20–23.5 in (50–60 cm). The umbilical cord has up to 40 turns along its length and these turns are seven times more likely to twist to the left than the right. The coiling pattern was in place nine weeks after conception, with more coils at the baby’s end than the placental end; this may be a response to your baby’s movements. The cord contains three blood vessels: two arteries taking deoxygenated blood and waste from your baby to the placenta and one vein carrying oxygen-rich blood from the placenta to the baby. The cord diameter is usually less than 3/4 in (2 cm) and the blood vessels are embedded in and protected by a layer of jelly. The watery composition of the jelly, together with the cord’s coiling pattern, prevents compression of the cord.

After the birth, your doctor will check the number of vessels in the cord since in 1 percent of singleton pregnancies the cord contains only one umbilical artery.

… Doctor
Q: If my baby has a low birthweight, will he have health problems?
A: A low birthweight is less than 51/2 lb (2.5 kg) and although the majority of small babies thrive, some do have difficulties. Most low birthweight babies are small because they are premature. There are many ways you can reduce the risk of your baby being a low birthweight: eating adequate amounts of healthy food to gain the right amount of weight , not smoking or drinking alcohol, reducing stress, and keeping all prenatal appointments so that your health—and your baby—can be monitored.

… Your body
Restless legs

Some pregnant women experience restless legs syndrome (RLS), whereby they have an irresistible urge to move their legs. It most commonly happens while resting, so can be very disruptive to sleep. The exact cause isn’t known but it may be related to an imbalance of a brain chemical called dopamine. The level of dopamine can be affected by a lack of iron. Restless legs syndrome will pass once you’re no longer pregnant. To minimize the effects of restless legs syndrome:

  • Ensure your diet includes an adequate intake of iron .

  • Taking steps to get a good night’s sleep may help you fall asleep—and stay that way. Keep your bedroom cool, quiet, comfortable, and dark. Don’t watch television, use a laptop, talk on the phone, or do any work in bed, and keep a consistent sleep schedule. Also, try doing something to challenge your brain before bed (a crossword puzzle, word jumble, or Sudoku puzzle). This may help ease your restless legs.

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